Kinky DNA

X-ray diffraction results have revealed how normally right-handed DNA can kink and twist like a telephone handset cord to form a left-handed spiral. The results will not only explain certain biological properties of DNA and how it behaves but could be put to use in nano-scale devices based on DNA. MIT biologist Alexander Rich and Yang-Gyun Kim of Chung-Ang University and Kyeong Kyu Kim of Sungkyungkwan University, both in South Korea, and their co-workers have shown that the breaking of a single base pair, which then flips out of the double helix is enough to produce a junction between the right-handed form of DNA and the left-handed form. The researchers suggest the formation of this junction conserves both energy and helical structure.